FIU Professor and American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow Patricia L. Price returned to the university along with 20 of her ACE Fellow colleagues on Jan. 7, spending several hours meeting with FIU leaders and touring the campus.
Price, who teaches geography in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, was one of 50 fellows from around the country selected in the spring of 2013 to become part of the ACE Fellows Program for the 2013-2014 academic year. She has spent the past several months in California at Harvey Mudd College and Claremont Graduate University.
The main goal of the program is to strengthen institutions and leadership in higher education by identifying and equipping select senior faculty and administrators for positions in college and university administration.
Combining retreats, interactive learning opportunities, campus visits, and placement at another higher education institution, the program condenses years of on-the-job experience and development into a single academic year.
“We travel around nationally and internationally to different kinds of universities with different kinds of leaders and just pick their brains about what keeps them up at night,” Price said. “There is a richness and strength in our educational structure here in the United States. That being said, there are challenges that resonate across all sorts of institutional types.”
Price pointed to challenges of leadership, change and change management, and garnering resources and public support as hurdles that leaders across the higher education landscape face. These were among the topics discussed in the ACE Fellows’ discussions with President Mark B. Rosenberg, Provost and Executive Vice President Douglas Wartzok and others.
“I’m impressed with the way FIU meets the unique needs of the community down here. From my perspective, a public institution should do exactly that,” said SUNY Institute of Technology Associate Provost Deborah Tyksinski. “I’m going to take a look when I get back home and ask ‘Do we reflect our community as well as FIU does?’”
Guilford College (N.C.) Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies Kyle Dell echoed that sentiment, impressed with Rosenberg and the university’s approach to meeting the needs of students, alumni and the surrounding community.
“He is a real beacon for us to align ourselves with and to follow,” said Dell. “One of the things that I took from the talk we had with him is the importance of remaining optimistic and understanding that the work that leaders in higher education need to engage in requires some optimistic, visionary energy that you are going to bring into everything you are doing on campus.”
While on the tour, Price noted several colleagues were impressed with the university’s size, diversity and density of activity on campus.
“For a lot of Fellows who are from smaller institutions or institutions that are more traditional in nature, this is a different world, and it’s an exciting world for them,” Price said.
FIU’s leadership and the ACE Fellows discussed the university’s vision, its programs and initiatives, and leadership approach in critical areas of higher education.
“President Rosenberg’s dedication to remain relevant in a very fast, changing and moving community stands out,” Tyksinski noted. ”You need to be relevant to different groups of students with different needs. He’s very sensitive to the community and changing context and there are many institutions that don’t do that.”